Caring for the Caregiver: 10 Tips When Providing Meals

The following is general information and may not apply for every situation. Please check with the recipient family or meal coordinator.

  •      Find out what the family normally eats and use that to guide your decision on what to offer.
  •      If possible, offer the family a choice of meals. Try to offer variety by checking what other meals have been provided within a few days of the time you would like to take a meal.
  •      Find out if any family members have any food sensitivities or allergies (lactose intolerant, peanut allergies, gluten intolerant etc.)
  •      Arrange a time to deliver the meal and be on time. Call if there is a change in plans.
  •      Use disposable containers to make cleanup easier. This will also eliminate the need for the family to keep track of and return the container. If you must use a non-disposable container and would like them returned, please label with your name and phone number.  Or when you arrive see if you can transfer the food to their serving dishes.  If not, follow up with the family a week or more later making the effort to pick up the containers versus having the family find time to return them Include disposable utensils (forks, knives, cups, etc.) when making deliveries outside the home, to a hospital or other facility.
  •      Label the containers with the contents, date prepared, and your name.
  •      Give clear written instructions for any preparation that may need to be done (heating times/temps, etc.). This can be on an attached piece of paper or written directly on a disposable container or foil covering.
  •      It’s usually a great time to visit briefly with the family when delivering a meal. Unless specifically asked to stay longer, it is usually best to keep your visit short. If the family is not ready for company, only stay as long as necessary. Please respect the family’s needs and wishes.
  •      If you would like to provide a meal without cooking it yourself, takeout food from a restaurant is also an option. Again check food restrictions and allergies to be sure the food is prepared properly.
  •      Gift certificates that deliver can also help fill in any gaps that may occur. The recipient can choose the meal and arrange to have it delivered when it is convenient